Jamie Carragher has finally accepted defeat in his stance on Lisandro Martinez, months after labelling the defender too small to play in the Premier League.
At the beginning of the season, former Liverpool defender Carragher weighed in on Manchester United’s summer signing and insisted the Argentian would not be successful positioned in a back four in the top flight.
He said on Sky Sports: “We should never judge managers or players too early, but I’m convinced this can’t work because the size of him playing in a back four. Maybe he could go left-back, maybe he could play in a back three, but in a back four, he cannot play there in the Premier League.
“The reason why they’re gonna have a huge problem with [Martinez] at centre-back is every single team that play Manchester United – maybe bar Man City and Liverpool, who might feel, ‘we don’t need to change for Man United’ – should target that. And if they don’t, they’re crackers.”
Since then, Martinez has been pivotal in United’s defence and has been instrumental to the resurgence happening at the club under Erik ten Hag. His defensive qualities are world-class, but his ability to create attacks, carry the ball and play line-breaking passes set him aside from almost any other centre-back in the division.
United kept 10 clean sheets in total last season and this term, with the addition of Martinez, they have kept 16 already by February. He has completely solidified the backline, which has played a huge factor in the Red Devils being third placed in the league, in the Carabao Cup final and in contention in two further competitions.
Carragher does Martinez u-turn
Carragher has now ate his words and heaped praise on United’s No.6 on this week’s episode of The Overlap, saying: “I think he’s been brilliant. To be that small and play centre-back, you’ve obviously got to be a special player and a good player.
“I didn’t think someone at that size could cope in the Premier League and he has coped. He’s been brilliant. What I said before about United’s spirit, he’s been a big part of that. There was a game I saw a few weeks ago, he was subbed and someone scored a late goal and he was right involved. You saw him in the World Cup, Argentinian, he’s got that fight.
“Him and Casemiro coming in, it feels more powerful. I think he could still get exposed in the air at some stage but every player has weaknesses, the best players make sure they don’t get exposed or hide them. I think he’s a really good player.
“He’s surprised me. I’ve got no problem, I can admit when I’m wrong!”